Bee Blog #2
If you read Bee Blog #1 you will know that we managed to remove the bird box full of bees that was 3 metres up a tree. I learnt how important it is to use smoke and I learnt I am not allergic to bee stings. Win, win.
Now, having bees in a bird box means you can’t get honey out, or manage them properly, so it was time to relocate the bees and their honeycomb to a proper bee box with removable frames. My mentor, John from Symonds Seeds, explained the process to me when I was up at the shop buying the gear I needed. I think so far I had spent over $1000 so the $160 to remove the bees was looking like a more sensible option. Never the less, here I was, ready with a power drill (so much for working quietly around bees), to open my first bee hive.
I roped a friend into helping as a second pair of hands was a big help. We had to take out all the screws that were holding the bird box together. A screw driver would have been a quieter option but seriously, I’m not that patient. Surprisingly, it all went miraculously well. We delicately cut the wax from the bird box and positioned it into the removable frames, holding them in place with elastic bands. This allowed some of the brood, honey and pollen they had stored to be transferred to the new hive.
There was still a lot of comb in the bird box and a lot of bees. John suggested I position the bird box on top of the bee box and put in a one way gate between the boxes so the theory was that when the bees went into the bottom box they couldn’t return to the bird box and it would soon be empty. Problem one. I couldn’t close the gap between the two different sized boxes. I learnt that bees can remove duct tape. I also learnt that they eat through expandable foam (ok so maybe that batch of honey wasn’t exactly organic).
In the end I think I just shook them all into the bottom box and wondered why I didn’t do that in the first place. I have since put a lot of bees in new boxes and a good shake is all that is required. It’s just good not to lose the queen, otherwise you lose the hive. Yes, I’ve done that before too.
So now I had an actual bee hive on my front lawn and I was an actual apiarist!! Sounds simple doesn’t it. Well it was until the hive swarmed and landed above my letterbox. Ok, no problem. Prepare box, shake branch, put on lid. Great, now I had two hives. Hang on. A few days later they swarmed again and went up a tree, which just happened to be hanging over into the neighbours driveway. Up the ladder, saw through the branch……..oops, new neighbours arrive home and wonder what on earth I am doing up a tree in white coveralls and a mask on their side of the fence, with a smoker. Thank goodness they turned out to be cool neighbours!
Now I was an apiarist with three hives in my front garden in Rockingham. Sweet. Time to move to a bigger place. Look out Serpentine, here we come!!